Getting your visa
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Frequently asked questions
What type of visa do I need?
You will be expected to apply as an adult student under Tier 4 (General) of the points-based system if you are coming to the UK for your post-16 education.
If you currently live in your home country you will need to apply for entry clearance before coming to the UK. You can apply to the British diplomatic post in the country in which you usually live, often through a commercial company called a visa application centre.
Alternatively, if you are already in the UK you may be able to apply for leave to remain here - often referred to as extending your visa.
What are the conditions of my Tier 4 visa?
Protecting your student visa
The University wants to support you in keeping your visa conditions and has therefore provided you with our 10 top tips to help you have a safe and problem-free stay at the University and here in the UK .
As a Tier 4 sponsored student, it is important that you follow the conditions of your visa. The latest Tier 4 information and immigration rules from the British Government can be found on the Government website.
Can I apply as a Tier 4 Student if my course is less than six months
There is no minimum length of course required to obtain a Tier 4 student visa. If your course is less than six months you may wish to enter the UK on the ‘short-term student’ route.
You can apply for this type of visa if you are 18 years old or over and you want to come and study in the UK for up to six months.
However, we recommend that you consider very carefully whether this option is right for you as at the end of the six month period you will not be allowed to extend your permission to be in the UK as a short-term student or a Tier 4 student and you will not be able to work while in the UK.
When do I apply?
Check all information
You must check that all the information on the CAS statement is correct and notify the University of any mistakes as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure the information on the CAS is correct.
You must apply for your visa/entry clearance before you leave home, as you will need to show your passport, with the correct stamp, to the immigration officer when you arrive in the UK.
You will receive a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from the University once you have paid the required deposit and shown us your bank statement (if requested).
It is essential that you pay your deposit as soon as you are able, to allow the University time to create your CAS number and get it to you. If you delay paying your deposit, this will delay your visa application, which may result in you being late to join the course, and you may be refused entry for this academic year. You will then have to return home and wait until the following year to commence your studies.
You must submit your application for entry clearance no more than three months before the course start date.
If you apply too early, your CAS will be deemed invalid and your application automatically rejected.
How does the Points Based System affect me?
It is compulsory to provide biometric information as part of any application for a UK Visa
You will need to go to your nearest visa application centre, where your fingers will be scanned and a full-face digital photograph will be taken.
Your visa application will not be processed until you have provided this information.
Under the Points Based System, when applying for entry clearance, you will be required to pass a points-based assessment and score 40 points in order to qualify for entry to study.
Points are obtained as follows:
30 points for a CAS number
You will receive this number from Birmingham City University once you have paid your deposit.
10 points for maintenance
Money to cover fees and living expenses.
How do I apply for entry clearance?
We recommend that you visit the United Kingdom - Visa and Immigration (UKVI) website and follow the instructions on making your visa application.
If you intend to apply as a Tier 4 (General) student you should complete the VAF9 – PBS Migrant and PBS Appendix 8 General Student self-assessment forms.
It is important that the information on your entry clearance application matches that on the CAS statement emailed to you by the University. Any qualifications written on the CAS statement must be included in your application. You must provide the original qualification with an accompanying official translation if it is not in English or Welsh.
As Birmingham City University is situated outside of the Inner London Boroughs you will be expected to show you have £1,015 per month to cover your maintenance. If you have paid any money to the University in the form of a deposit for tuition or accommodation fees and it is not included on the CAS statement, you must contact the University immediately.
Entrance clearance refused?
If your application for entry clearance is refused, please inform the University as soon as possible. You may be able to apply for an Administrative Review in your own country. Please do not travel to the UK, as you will be refused entry at the UK port of entry (airport/seaport etc).
Follow the guidance notes
Please follow the guidance notes carefully and provide all relevant documentary evidence and the application fee required.
As Birmingham City University is situated outside of the inner London boroughs you will be expected to show you have £1,015 per month to cover your maintenance.
Visit the UKVI website and refer to the Self-Assessment Points Calculator for full details of your own personal maintenance requirements.
What should I do if I am already in the UK as a student and my student visa will expire soon?
You will need to obtain a new visa if you wish to study with us and will need to get a CAS in order to do so. If you are currently studying at an FE college or private provide please note you cannot apply for your new visa here in the UK, you must instead go back home and do your visa application there. The same applies if you have not completed or failed your studies elsewhere.
Before Enrolling with us
Please note you must have applied for your new visa before you can enrol at Birmingham City University.
The University has a visa service (the Batch System) that is open for international students already in the UK and who are able to apply for their new visa here. As part of this service, we will give you all the advice you need on your new visa application and we will help you fill in the forms and even send the application off for you. What’s more, this service is completely free.
This means that once the CAS is ready we will send this to our Student Affairs department and an International Student Advisor will get in touch with you to agree a time for you to complete your visa application with them.
What funds do I need?
When you are putting together your visa application you will need to ensure you have the following money available:
We require certain students to show us evidence of this before we will issue your CAS.
We appreciate the sensitive information that bank statements contain; however, we can assure you that any data received will be treated with the strictest confidentiality and will not be accessed by anyone other than International Office staff.
- One year’s tuition fee – minus any money paid to the University
- One year’s living expenses – £9,135
- You will need to show these funds for 28 days prior to us issuing your CAS
- The funds should be either in your own bank account or your parents’. If the money is in your parents’ name, you must also include a birth certificate and a letter from them stating you have the right to use these funds with your visa application.
- Do not take this money out of the bank account while you wait for your visa as the UKVI may check with the bank to see if the money is still there.
- The bank statements you send must not be dated more than one month from the time of submission.
- We require certain students to show us their financial evidence before we will issue your CAS.
- We appreciate the sensitive information that bank statements contain, however, we can assure you that any data received will be treated with the strictest confidentiality and will not be accessed by anyone other than the International Office staff.
Will I need to attend a credibility interview?
Many students will be interviewed as part of the student visa application process to provide further assurance that applicants granted a visa; do intend to study in the UK. Get further information on student interviews from the Government.
For most students the Government expects that this interview will be around five minutes long and will be conducted via a video link with a specialist team who will be based in Sheffield, UK. The interview will focus on your reasons for choosing to study in the UK.
The kinds of questions you may be asked are:
- What research you’ve undertaken when you looked where to study
- Why you chose the UK
- Why you chose BCU
- Why you have gaps in education
- Why you are now wanting to study after the gap in study
- What modules you will be taking
Will I need to pay the healthcare charge?
The Government have introduced this health charge to all international students coming to the UK for a course of six months or more from 6 April 2015. The charge is £150 for each year of leave you request.
If you are coming for longer than a year, eg for three years of an undergraduate course, you will need to pay the entire amount up front. This charge is for the entire leave and not just the course length.
You will pay for this charge as part of your visa application process.
Before applying for your visa
Before you apply for your visa you will need to obtain your Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS) reference number.
The UKVI website contains information to help you.
What are Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs)?
When you do your visa application, please tick the box for delivery to our University in the “Alternative Location” field and put in our unique code which is 2HE522. This way your visa will be sent to us for you to collect at enrolment.
If you are successful with your visa application you will be issued with a vignette in your passport which is valid for 30 days from your intended travel date in your visa application. This will be you if you are coming to study for a period of six months or more.